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Provide a copy of the letter to your Tester. After completing the test, the Tester will submit the results to Charleston Water System.
Compliance with our backflow requirements is the responsibility of the water account holder. If you are renting a home or commercial space, your landlord or property management company may agree to take care of the backflow installation and/or annual testing, but it is the ultimately the account holder's responsibility.
If you hire someone to install it, provide him with a copy of the letter and installation guidelines enclosed in the letter.
Once it's installed, you or the installer should contact us to request an inspection. If it passes inspection, the final step is to have it tested by a tester from our List of Approved Backflow Testers.
Backflow prevention assemblies have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are susceptible to wear and failure. Annual testing ensures they are functioning properly and protecting our public water system.
We do require backflow tests to be performed by Testers on our List of Approved Backflow Testers.
Backflow requirements vary for commercial customers based on the business's water use. Our staff reviews newly established commercial water accounts to assess the degree of backflow hazard and notifies businesses about backflow requirements.
Backflow prevention devices protect plumbing systems and our public water supply by preventing backflow.
Backpressure can also cause backflow. Backpressure occurs when a building's plumbing system has higher pressure than the public water supply.
Both situations can allow water and contaminants from a private plumbing system to reverse flow into the public supply, potentially contaminating the water for other users. Backflow preventers keep this from happening.
Hose-bib vacuum breakers are inexpensive and available at hardware stores. They have been required by the Standard Plumbing Code since 1963.
To eliminate these backflow requirements, the irrigation system must be physically disconnected from your plumbing system.
If your irrigation system is served by the same water service that serves your home or business, you can have the irrigation system cut and capped. Once this is complete, contact us to schedule an inspection.
If your irrigation system is served by a separate irrigation meter, contact us to close the account and we will lock or remove the meter.
Use the link below to submit a leak adjustment request, or call our Customer Service Department at (843) 727-6800. Leak Adjustment Request Form
To sign up for AutoDraft, call (843) 727-6800 or complete the form on the back of your bill stub.
For questions about the storm water fee, please contact the City of Charleston's Storm Water Utility at 843-724-7246.
Our water and sewer rate structures both include a minimum bill, which is a monthly charge for service availability and up to 2 Ccf (1,496 gallons) of water consumption.
The minimum bill is designed to recover the costs associated with making service available, including costs related to metering and billing and infrastructure. The water minimum bill also pays for the costs associated with providing water for fire protection, one of our key functions.
These costs remain constant regardless of whether you use any water in a billing period.
Learn more about our sewer rates
A Boil Water Notice must be issued under the following circumstances:
These situations are not the only times when an advisory or notice should be issued. Specific situations, upon consultation with DHEC, may also require an advisory or notice.
A 'Do Not Use Notice' will be issued if there is a contaminant in the water that may be inhaled or otherwise harmful on contact.
The water treatment process removes these bacteria from the water, but events such as a water main break or a loss of pressure in the water distribution system may allow these bacteria to enter water lines through cracks in pipes or back-siphoning from a residential plumbing system. Boiling water vigorously for 1 minute will kill these bacteria and make water safe to drink.
An advisory is different from a Boil Water Notice, which is issued when contamination is confirmed in the water system. During a notice, all customers must boil their water before consuming it or use bottled water.
After an advisory or notice has been lifted (if contamination of the water system did occur), you should flush household pipes, ice makers, water fountains, etc. prior to using for drinking or cooking. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that no contaminated water remains in your pipes. Follow the these guidelines for flushing:
If a hurricane is about to impact our service area, then the Charleston Water System may, after consultation with SCDHEC, issue a Boil Water Advisory as a precautionary measure.
After the storm:
- We look for damage to our system and make any repairs as quickly as possible.
- If tests show the water is safe to drink, we lift the Boil Water Advisory.
- If tests indicate bacterial contamination, we issue a Boil Water Notice.
- Stay tuned to media reports for instructions.
We encourage homeowners to consider their individual situation and decide if the service line protection plan is a good fit for them.
It's important to note that irrigation accounts require you to install a backflow prevention device and have it tested annually by an approved tester. A certified plumber or contractor can install a backflow preventer for you. The cost will depend on the type of device required and the installation labor.
Tap and impact fees cover the cost for the Charleston Water System distribution system to install and connect the new meter. A $30 account origination fee is also charged for creation of the new account. This fee is nonrefundable and nontransferable.
It is important to note that irrigation accounts require installation of a backflow prevention device. These devices must be tested annually by an approved tester. A plumber or contractor can install a backflow preventer for you. The cost will be determined by the type of device required and the installation labor. Annual testing fees vary, so it’s a good idea to call around for pricing, but be sure to use a Charleston Water System approved tester.
Your savings and payback period depends on where you live and your water use.Calculate potential savings:Inside city of Charleston
Outside city of Charleston
Most customers see a payback on the up-front cost of installing the irrigation meter in 4 to 5 years. For a savings and payback period estimate, call (843) 727-6800, or email us. One important thing to consider is how getting an irrigation meter will affect your domestic sewer bill if you live in a single family home. You won't pay any sewer charges for water use through an irrigation meter, but your sewer bill for your residential account will increase slightly because your domestic sewer charges will be calculated based on 100% of your domestic water usage instead of 95%.
Additionally, our backflow requirements must be met before we will activate the irrigation service. We require irrigation accounts to have a backflow prevention assembly in order to protect our water system against contamination from backflow.
Charleston Water System does not install or test backflow preventers. Customers are responsible for installing backflow preventers in accordance with our requirements and having them tested annually.
For more information:
Backflow requirements for residential customersBackflow requirements for commercial customers
Yes, our source water includes naturally occurring fluoride (approximately 0.15 mg/L), and we adjust the level to approximately 0.7 mg/L during the treatment process.
Drinking Water Fluoridation (Position Statement)Adopted by the Board of Commissioners October 24, 2017The Charleston Water System (CWS) supports the recommendations of the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Association, South Carolina Dental Association and other professional organizations in the medical community, for the proper fluoridation of public water supplies as a public health benefit. We also support regular scrutiny of the most current peer reviewed research on fluoride and the positions of the medical and dental community.We adjust the naturally occurring level of fluoride in our drinking water in a responsible, effective, and reliable manner that includes monitoring and controlling fluoride levels as mandated by state and/or federal laws, regulations and recommendations. We carefully monitor and adjust potable water to achieve the scientifically recommended concentration of fluoride for protection against dental caries, which is 0.7 parts per million. Our annual cost for this program is about $110,000, which equates to $0.25 per person across the approximately 450,000 people in our water service area.The CWS participates in the fluoridation of water under the guidance of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), Oral Health Division. SCDHEC coordinates their program in conjunction with the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.If there are questions regarding these programs, please contact:SCDHECDivision of Oral Health2100 Bull Street, Columbia, S.C. 29201P: (803) 898-9577F: (803) 898-2065